Lee Leggett appointed national CEO of Initiative, Livingston moved to COO

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 10.38.30 AMIPG Mediabrands has hired the former CEO of UK creative agency Dare Lee Leggett as the CEO of Initiative Australia, with current CEO Andrew Livingston being moved to the role of chief operating officer.

Leggett spent seven years at the helm of Dare in the UK and before moving to Australia last year. She has led major accounts in the UK including Sainsburys, Sony, Coca-Cola, Vodafone and Diageo.

In response to questions of whether this was a demotion for Livingston, IPG MEdiabrand’s chairman Henry Tajer told Mumbrella: “This is a repositioning of his role into what he is really really strong at. Some people will read it as a demotion because we are bringing in another CEO into the role, but this is more about positioning and this is part of the plan that we have for the Initiative business in terms of investing in it and growing it.

“We value Andrew highly. He has been repositioned to have a different focus to what he has done. I think all would agree that in the time that Andrew has held the CEO’s role Initiative has become a stronger agency and the market will that in the coming days as well.”

Initiative won the Media Federation of Australia Award’s Grand Prix last year, but has recently lost its Sydney managing director Annick Perrin. In March the agency won the $10m TAL account, but lost the Rabobank account to ZenithOptimedia and Helloworld to OMD in the same month.

In regards to Leggett’s appointment Tajer said he was confident she would be able to take Initiative to the next level.

“Lee has a truly enviable track record that is perfect to lead Initiative into the future,” said Tajer. “She has effectively led a very creative business that has attracted marquee clients, produced great work and developed a strong agency culture along the way.”

“After two years successfully leading Initiative to high points including new business wins and the MFA Grand Prix, we have asked Andrew to take on the new COO role to continue taking advantage of his strong commercial and operational skills,” said Tajer “He will work with Lee on a transition of the CEO role and move to focus more on operational matters across the national business.”

Leggett, who is married to M&C Saatchi CEO Jaimes Leggett, said she is excited to take on the new role.

“I have been very impressed with Initiative as an organisation and the quality of its work. I am looking forward to getting to grips with the role and meeting the clients and people. It is a great opportunity,” she said.

During her seven years at the helm of Dare the agency forged a reputation for innovation, and was named digital agency of the decade by Campaign Magazine, and one of the world’s most innovative companies by Fast Company. She has previously managed  the Grand Union agency, and has had stints at DDB and Digitas.

Leggett joins Initiative on May 5 and will be based in Sydney.

Nic Christensen 


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